MTU Cork produced a late surge at Santry Avenue last night to see off the challenge of Trinity College and consequently progress into the knock-out stages of the Fitzgibbon Cup.
Up 0-18 to 1-13 on 53 minutes, an Alan Walsh goal helped MTU to place this Group C encounter beyond doubt.
Liam O’Shea and Tomas Howard led the way for the Munster side with a combined total of 15 points and while Cork panelist Sean O’Leary-Hayes shone for Trinity with a 0-6 salvo, it wasn’t enough to prevent the Dublin outfit’s elimination from the competition.
Determined to restore pride following a heavy opening round defeat to GMIT, the hosts split the uprights through Midleton native O’Leary-Hayes and Aodan Buggy in response to points at the opposite end from O’Shea and Howard.
After O’Shea (free) and Andy O’Connell had recorded back-to-back scores for MTU, O’Leary-Hayes grabbed his second of the half as Trinity continued to pose a threat in attack.
O’Connell, O’Shea and Walsh (two) knocked over unanswered points to give MTU breathing space, but Trinity came storming back into contention once again. Adding to a point from Meath’s Jack Lanigan, Donal Leavy rattled the net off an O'Leary-Hayes pass in the 19th-minute.
While MTU fired back with scores from James Mulcahy, Howard and Sam Quirke, Trinity swiftly replied with three points of their own - including a brace for the talismanic O’Leary-Hayes.
Still, the Cork men were always a couple of steps ahead of their opponents and, with Howard and O’Shea (two) adding to their tallies, they led 0-14 to 1-7 at the interval.
MTU held onto their four-point cushion on the resumption following traded points between Leavy and O’Shea, before the Lisgoold star and Howard contributed additional white flag efforts to give the Rebels further leeway.
The Trinity spirit remained intact, however, and they proceeded to outscore MTU 0-5 to 0-1 over a 12-minute spell to leave just two points between the teams.
However, with just over seven minutes left in normal time, Walsh pulled to the net off a monstrous Ger Collins free to provide MTU with a crucial five-point buffer. Courtesy of three late scores from O’Shea - as well as a fifth by Howard - the victors eased over the line.
L O’Shea (0-10, 5f), T Howard (0-5), A Walsh (1-2), S Quirke, A O’Connell (0-2 each), J Mulcahy (0-1).
D Leavy (1-7, 0-5f), S O’Leary Hayes (0-6, 1f), L O’Sullivan, A Buggy, J Lanigan (0-1 each).
G Collins (Ballinhassig); B Murphy (Carrick Swan), W Hurley (Valley Rovers), W Ryan (Inniscarra); S Keoghan (Graigue/Ballycallan), P O’Flynn (Bride Rovers), E Collins (Newcestown); B Twomey (Carrigtwohill), S Quirke (Midleton); T Howard (Dromtarriffe), L O’Shea (Lisgoold), A Walsh (Kanturk); A O’Connell (Douglas), P Creedon (Thurles Sarsfields), J Mulcahy (Carrigtwohill).
J Cranny (Abbeyleix) for E Collins (ht); C Hickey (Lisgoold) for Twomey (44); K Murphy (Sarsfields) for O’Connell (45).
C Lynch (Oliver Plunkett’s); J Holohan (Moyle Rovers), P Skelly (Na Fianna), K Weldon (Ballyboden St Enda’s); L Mitchell (Raheny), D Phelan (St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh), N Hannon (Na Fianna); C O Ceallaigh (Cuala), M Conroy (Cuala); D Leavy (Naomh Olaf), S O’Leary Hayes (Midleton), J Lanigan (Ratoath); L O’Sullivan (Ballinteer St John’s), A Buggy (Na Fianna), K Bawle (Drumree).
C Hart (Ogonnelloe) for Bawle (24); L Hart (Ogonnelloe) for Hannon (ht); B Dempsey (Mullinavat) for O’Sullivan (39).
S Stack (Dublin).